Maxed out 

Sustainability at work

By any measure, Monday was a warm day. Too warm for a ski resort in the opening days of February. Even this ski resort. Skiers from La Belle Province sweated like fat farm hopefuls in their puffy down, Tremblant ski suits. Those unfortunate enough to have to hike out of Symphony Hole when the lift decided to take the rest of the afternoon off muttered darkly about the glory of an unexpected bootcamp spa day.

As warm as it was, it wasn't that warm. It wasn't warm enough to explain what I thought my eyes were seeing. "Too much eye strain," I thought to myself. "Too much time in front of a computer screen."

But when I rubbed my eyes, did a few quick long-distance, short-distance exercises to prod my aging lenses back into some semblance of plasticity, the apparition was still there.

"Can't be," I thought. On a cruise ship, bobbing along in tropical waters, you wouldn't give a second thought to seeing a fat woman in a moo-moo. But in Whistler village? In February?

She was standing down by the attractive yellow fencing around Lot 1/9, staring at the earth moving equipment crawling around like so many bored, mechanical cattle. I was still back on the bridge over the River to Nowhere, frozen in my tracks. Shrugging, I continued on, my gaze fixed on... whatever the hell it was.

Passing the Olympic Information(sic) Centre, I stopped again to rub my eyes. "Is it my imagination, or does that fat woman need a shave?" I might have said out loud. Then I noticed the hair. It was stringy, greasy, unkempt, and looked as though it had once been coiffed with a Waring blender. It also looked uneasily familiar.

"Can't be," I thought.

Giving more than passing thought to choosing a longer, more circuitous route to Marketplace, I was, nonetheless, drawn closer, driven by the same curiosity that makes you look at a bad accident on the side of the highway even though you really don't want to see the carnage.

Microseconds after I realized it was a man in a moo-moo, I realized which man it was.

"Okay, J.J., this tops 'em all. Better than the big suit, better than the Cinco de Mayo, Pancho Villa outfit, better than the wrestling mask you wore when you dated the woman wrestler, better than any of your PI disguises. What gives?"

"Dude, it was your idea."

"My idea for you to wander around Tiny Town in a moo-moo?"


"Have you been gaining weight? Or has your brain just dripped down to your belly? I suspect the latter though I can't imagine you ever had enough brain to explain that belly."

"Prego Pad TM . You know, one of those touchy-feely things they make so men can appreciate what their knocked-up girlfriends feel like. I'm test driving it for your Hundred Pregnant Man March. You wrote about it a few weeks ago."

"It was a joke, J.J."

"I think it was Freud who said there's always some unspoken truth behind jokes. Or was that Oscar Wilde? I can never remember. Anyway, I liked the idea. Besides, do you have any clue how comfortable these things are?"

"Prego Pads?"

"No, dude. Moo-moos. I might start wearing these things all the time. At least in summer. Gotta admit, Little J's starting to get a bit numb."

"Let's not get all Ashley MacIsaac on me, Brother. Some things are best left unspoken. So," I said, motioning towards the earth movers, "what's got your attention here?"

"Just watching sustainability at work. Know why they're having to do so much extra pre-loading on this site?"

"I heard something about the geotech studies showing the land wasn't compact enough to build Celebration Plaza on."

"Yeah, that's because they're trying to build on a foundation of VANOC's broken promises."

"Cute, J.J. Cynical, but cute."

"Might be good stuff to grow crops in, given the extremely high bullshit content, but ain't worth a damn to build a plaza - much less a legacy - on."

"Yeah, well, things are tough all over. If VANOC wants to weasel out of their promise to hold medals ceremonies here to save a few bucks, file that one in the Who Cares file."

"I care."

"Why J.J., I had no idea you were so sentimental about watching professional athletes get trinkets hung around their necks."

"I'm not. But those lying bastards told us this was the ONLY place medals could be awarded. Whenever any one protested the clearcutting of this little bit of urban forest the answer was, 'This is the only place we can hold medals ceremonies.' Whenever any of us lobbied to hold 'em on the driving range or at Skiers' Plaza or anywhere else we were lied to by those weasels. 'This is the only place we can hold the medals ceremonies. Well obviously this isn't the only place. Whistler isn't even the only place. The freakin' competition venues are now the only place. What a crock."

"Easy, J.J. You don't want your water to break. Cut VANOC some slack. It's not like they knew the athletes' village mahal in Vancouver was going to balloon... or that security was going to be a bazillion dollar cops-gone-wild extravaganza... or the world economy was going into the toilet."

"Dude! This forest was cut down last April. Everybody knew those things then. You know what's going to happen here during the Olympics?"

"Have to admit, I'm kinda puzzled about that."

"You and a bunch of other townies are going to stand around, freeze your toes off, suck back VANOC suds and watch TV. No athletes, no medals, no Olympic family parasites, no tourists, no spectators. This place will be a monument to Olympic hubris, a legacy we can suntan in for years to come while we bask in the glory of Olympic debt."

"C'mon, J.J. Mr. Big 'splained it to Kenny and the Kenettes last week. They're satisfied. I'm sure they asked the tough questions."

"Satisfied. Of course they're satisfied. Want to know what happened in that secret meeting? They asked, 'Oh dear, whatever will we do with Celebration Plaza now that there won't be any medals to celebrate?' And Darth Furlong gave 'em the old Jedi wave and said, 'You don't need to know that.' And they went belly up like space worms and said, 'We don't need to know that.' That's what happened. Dude, we've been sold up the river."

"You may be right. But let's face it, not much we can do. Let us go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember.... Oh, screw it. Let's just go get a cup of tea."

"Good idea, you clearly don't need any more Kool-Aid."

"Maybe not, but you need a set, style and shave... Ma'am."

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